Caring for senior loved ones with dementia can be both rewarding and extremely exhausting. While we strive to do everything we can for them and want to be a part of their care as much as possible, it can start to take a toll on us. That is where home care for people with dementia can help. Having an in-home caregiver can help provide relief for family members and friends while at the same time providing personalized care and support for dementia patients within the comfort of their own homes. Professional home care workers, such as those with Visiting Angels Punta Gorda, can come into the home as much or as little as you like to help your senior loved one. They can supplement the care that family members offer, or family members can supplement the care they give. Home care workers also can help with specific tasks or all of the day-to-day tasks your senior needs.Here are some ways home care can help your senior loved one with dementia and also help family members on this care journey.Everyday NeedsProfessionals with home care agencies can help dementia patients with activities of daily living, including bathing, getting dressed and undressed each morning and night, grooming, using the toilet, eating and more. Often dementia patients resist showers. Home care workers skilled in working with memory loss patients can help them at least clean up each day. By helping with these tasks, they can help ensure their safety, health and hygiene are cared for. Home care workers can help them feel more like themselves throughout the day with brushed hair and teeth, clean clothes and a clean environment.SafetyWhile in-home caregivers are present in the home, they will help ensure your senior loved one suffering from dementia is safe. They can help ensure they dont wander from the home or leave the stove burner on after cooking something. If family members cannot always be there, home care workers can alert them to anything that might be a safety hazard, such as a loose rug, wobbly banister or door that your senior loved one keeps unlocking and trying to leave from. If your senior loved one needs more stability during their bathing, caregivers can let the family know they might need to install grab bars. They also can provide a steady hand for seniors and avoid any dangerous areas, such as cords, that could cause potential tripping hazards. Dementia patients may not remember to let their families know what they need or even be aware that it is a concern, so home care workers can provide an extra level of safety protection for them. CompanionshipHaving a homecare worker present can offer seniors with dementia constant companionship. People suffering from dementia often can become isolated or feel lonely, which can worsen their symptoms. Some symptoms of dementia include aggressiveness and/or crabbiness. Dementia patients have been known to push their family members away or to act hostile. A home care worker can provide companionship and support for senior citizens, especially when family members feel like retreating or that they need a break. They can listen to their stories, ask them questions and engage the patient in meaningful social activities to improve their emotional well-being.Relieving the familyThere is no doubt that caring for a loved one with dementia brings with it a ton of emotions and lots of stress. It also can place family members in situations they are not comfortable with. If children feel uncomfortable doing some of the caregiving for their parents, such as bathing or toileting, a home care worker can do the essentials so family members can simply spend time with them. They also can help with some of the more frustrating tasks so that family members dont lose patience and so that clients do not take out their frustration on their family members. Homecare workers also can provide respite care, which means family members can leave the home or caregiving duties for a short period of time. They can go out to coffee with a friend to refresh, have a nice dinner out without worrying about hurrying back to help their loved one, or they can even just take a peaceful nap at home with the help of respite care. Respite care can also provide short-term relief for a weekend away or an extended vacation.We Can HelpIf you are looking for help caring for your senior this spring and every season of the year, our professionals at Visiting Angels Punta Gorda are here to help. We provide a variety of home care services, including companion care, fall prevention and more. Our expert team of caregivers serves clients in Punta Gorda, North Fort Myers, Boca Grande, Cape Coral, Sanibel, Captiva, Arcadia and surrounding areas. To learn more about our services, call us at 941-347-8288, or contact us online.
With stores putting out holiday decorations well before Halloween, it is hard to avoid the hype surrounding the holiday season.For most people, it is an anticipated time of year with traditions, memories and family gatherings. But for older residents, these same reasons may result in the blues, making the holidays a challenging time. Sometimes beloved traditions and family gatherings become out of reach as we age and may be isolated from friends and families. Holidays may remind us of the passing of time, who is missing in our lives and who is not nearby. The loss of holiday traditions and gatherings often changes the way we feel about the holidays. Sometimes reminiscing on traditions that have gone can fuel feelings of loneliness.An AARP study found that 31% of respondents felt lonely during the holiday season. Additionally, another 41% worried about a family member or friend feeling lonesome. Whats more, more than 12 million Americans over age 65 live alone, according to the American Psychological Association. As children grow up and move away, neighborhoods change, and friends pass, the opportunities for close connections sometimes become limited. Financial constraints and loss of independence and mobility can change looking forward to the holidays to dreading them. To help avoid the holiday blues, here are some steps you can take to restore holiday joy. Find new ways to connect, such as video chat and email. Write letters, cards and call. You do not have to wait for family members to reach out. Take initiative. Connecting with others is one of the best ways to relieve loneliness. It is heathy to feel sadness about missing family and friends. It is important to acknowledge your feelings. Volunteer and help others. If you are able, you can help with daily tasks that may seem overwhelming or share a meal. If you are feeling lonely, maybe your neighbor is, too. Being available for someone else is good medicine. Be kind to yourself. Continue your wellness routines and healthy habits. Rethink how you do things this season. Joy is not limited to the last two months of the year! Every day can be treated as a holiday! Consider trying a new activity or hobby or teach someone something you are good at. Limit screen time. A constant diet of bad news creates anxiety. Resolve to make the best of the holidays but adjust your expectations and adopt realistic goals. While the holidays may look different over time, they can still be meaningful. The most important thing to make someone feel special this season is to simply spend time with them. If you cannot participate in person, FaceTime or Zoom also work.Here are other ways you can help others (and yourself) find joy in the holidays and help banish the holiday blues: Share your traditions with others and enjoy theirs. Reflect about past holidays as you unpack cherished decorations. Listen to the stories of others and ask about special pieces. Make a conscious effort to be available for those who might be feeling isolated. Plan a regular call or visit or reach out with a video call or old-fashioned letter. For anyone who might be struggling with holiday loneliness, provide a comfortable space for them to talk. Save judgments or problem solving and simply have a genuine conversation. As you plan your celebrations, look for ways to be inclusive. Extending an invitation may not be enough to make others feel included. Being with a crowd of strangers who have little in common can still feel very lonely. Being recognized and honored goes a long way in combating loneliness. Be open to asking about and including favorite memories such as treasured decorations, traditional treats and meaningful music. Religious organizations often offer extra social and/or spiritual support. Just talking with someone can go a long way. Bring or send familiar treats that represent holiday customs for elders to enjoy and share. Often, holiday blues are temporary. However, if symptoms last for more than two weeks, they can indicate clinical anxiety or depression. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), socially isolated older adults are at higher risk for depression.It may be time to seek help if you or someone you love is experiencing any of these common symptoms of depression: Feeling so down you cannot shake it off Too little or too much sleep, or interruptions through the night Changes in appetite; eating more or less than usual Difficulty concentrating Lack of interest in the things that typically make you happy Irritability Lack of interest in socializing or engaging with others. Plan to look for and spread cheer this season, but if the holiday blues linger well beyond the season, discuss your symptoms with your primary care provider.ABOUT THE AUTHOR Courtney L. Whitt, Ph.D. is Director of Behavioral Health at Healthcare Network, which offers behavioral health services as a routine part of comprehensive care and traditional counseling services. Healthcare Network provides quality primary care services for children and adults in locations throughout Collier County. To learn more or make an appointment, please call 239.658.3000 or visit HealthcareSWFL.org.
When your friend is grieving, you want to do everything you can to be there for them and support them during this difficult time. But you may wonder are you overstepping? What if you say the wrong thing? Its common to second guess ourselves when we have the best intentions for supporting a friend after a loss.Grief is something we all experience at some point, but without some guidance, it can be difficult to know how to best support someone when theyve lost a loved one, said Erin Smith of The Terraces at Bonita Springs, a senior living community in Bonita Springs, FloridaWere starting a group for widows in our community called The Terraces Vita Nova Social Club. This will be a space where people in our local community who have lost their significant other have an opportunity to connect and socialize through new friendships, Erin continued.Vita Nova gives members the opportunity to talk about their experiences, their challenges, and enjoy the shared support of the people around them. The group will also focus on moving forward and finding joy in the next chapter of their lives through engaging gatherings and new friendships.Vita Nova aims to provide ladies with a space where they feel encouraged to venture away from isolated homes to spend an afternoon with others who have gone through a similar experience.As a friend, keep these simple ways in mind so that you can be there for a grieving friend.1. Reach Out to Your FriendReach out with a phone call or a text message to express your condolences. This small action lets them know youre there for them and will support them through this difficult time. Remember to keep reaching out, even after the initial wave of loss has settled.2. ListenYou may be with your friend when they feel like they want to vent about their emotions or talk about their loved one. A study examining grief support showed that allowing the grieving person to discuss their loved one and not rush them through their feelings felt emotionally supported.One key thing to remember is to not advise or interrupt your friend. Simply listening and letting them get anything they want off their chest can be a huge help to their grieving process.3. Validate Their FeelingsWhen your friend is discussing how theyre feeling, its important to validate them. While grief is a process, its not always a straightforward process. Your friend may have had a good couple of weeks, only to feel their grief all over again. Being there to validate their feelings and that its okay for them not to be okay can provide them with comfort and assurance.4. Show UpShowing up is one of the best ways to support your grieving friend.You cook a meal, drop it off to them, and its ready to go in the oven.You stop by with groceries.You take their dog for a walk or mow the lawn.Often, when you say, Let me know if I can do anything for you, your friend may not feel comfortable reaching out and asking. By showing up with a plan, you can alleviate some of the most difficult parts of going through the grieving process keeping up with everything else.Use the phrase Id love it if youd allow me to to increase the odds of them accepting your assistance without shame.5. Help Your Friend Find SupportWhile there are many ways you can support your friend, they may benefit from other types of support as well. A support group for people who have experienced loss, like your friend, can help them connect with others and hear from others who are further along in the grieving process. They may not be ready for quite some time, but gently remind them that they may find comfort in like-minded individuals.6. Plan an ActivityWhen your friend is going through the grieving process, some days or times of the week may be particularly difficult. For example, the demands of the workweek and running a house may keep your friend occupied Monday through Friday, but they struggle with Saturdays.Taking them out for coffee, to walk around a farmers market, or to their favorite restaurant can give them something to look forward to and get through the more difficult days.7. Keep in TouchMany people may be in touch with your friend immediately following their loss. However, when life starts to get back to normal, those people may stop reaching out. Keeping in touch with your friend will show them that youre there for them and available to give them support during the grieving process.Get Support at The Terraces at Bonita SpringsNavigating the loss of a loved one isnt something you should have to face alone. Fortunately, at The Terraces at Bonita Springs, youll have friends and associates to hold your hand and help. Give us a call at 239-949-7848 to learn more about our groups dedicated to those who have experienced the loss of a significant partner.